Monday, August 30, 2010


I (Tully) am a firm believer in the principle that, with great editorial license comes great editorial responsibility. In an earlier post on hot sauces, I claimed that Tomazula was my favorite hot sauce. Those, my dear readers, were the claims of a deranged mind. I confused Tomazula with Picamas, which is my actual favorite. Rich, flavorful ripe chili peppers go into this sauce to give it a thick, ketchup-like consistency without the use of Guar Gum or any such nonsense. Yes, the thickness comes from adding flour. The result is that the vinegar is delightfully understated. Yes the label features a less than dynamic characterization of the people to whom it is marketed. But it is indeed a Mexican's hot sauce. It has not so much a bite as a slow, sumptuous chew. Biting-heat is a taste of Tex-Mex I understand it the premium among actual Mexicans is placed upon richness. That's a generalization, but I think it's as true as this sauce is enjoyable.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Birthright Citizenship III

OK, here I am picking up where I left off at what seems like too long ago, now:
Birthright Citizenship, and it's 'problems', as they are seen as problems by others.

The element of the issue I want to discuss this time is the Mexican side: Mojados, and the babies that anchor them. (Maybe we can call them mojaditos?)

I'm already on record with opposing the status quo that allows mass mojadoism, and those who cater to them. But I'm not really talking about them.
Nope. I'm not. The issue is Birthright Citizenship, and the citizenship status bestowed upon their offspring who are born here.

I've heard some compelling arguments in favor of the idea that the Supreme Court can rule against citizenship status for mojaditos, all based upon the law and other considerations. I'm seeing that they may have a valid point, even from my limited conservative view of what the constitution means. That aside, I also believe that the words of the constitution mean what the common 'man on the street' would understand them to mean in the context in which they were adopted. So, I can see this going both ways, and both ways being accurate from a legal perspective (a perspective that I, admittedly, am not schooled in, so take that for what it's worth.)

(Despite these arguments, I still favor the simple language interpretation that currently rules the day. To me, this interpretation is the most legit because it passes the 'man on the street' test. Once again, for what it's worth.)

Now, on the subject of mojaditos, and a Supreme Court challenge: do we really want to go there?

Anybody who tells me they want to deny status to these children must first explain how the hell they can take a kid who spends his whole life living in Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago or Topeka ... and then say he is not a part of our national community?
And if he's discovered by I.C.E., what are they gonna do with him? Deport him to a country that he's never been in, or a part of?

This is America. We don't penalize kids for the misdeeds of their parents, and the 14th Amendment not only did some justice for Blacks, it also says, if indirectly, that one's social caste is not fixed at birth.

These are American kids, who grow up to become American adults. And if you do not believe this, believe it anyway. Believe it because I said so.
I've spent my entire life (from age three) surrounded and immersed in the people and culture of first generation Mexicans.
Sure, many of them may possess peculiar interests in the absurd distractions of mariachi, FIFA, and classically mutilated Chevys in colors God never intended.
Truth be told...
And I'll say it...
In large numbers they absolutely do provide annoyances of epic proportions. Well, so did (and still do) the Irish, and everybody seems to think them damned Irish are pretty cool, now.

But they also host Super Bowl parties, join Little League, barbecue on July 4th and enlist, and die, in the United States Armed Forces at levels far and above their representation in the population.
(Among the fallen: the Mexico-born cousin of a coworker who was brought to this country as a baby, and amnestied according to the 1986 law)
They mow their own lawns, wash their own cars, and their kids aren't afraid to break a sweat for a few bucks.
Hey guys, Social Security is going broke. Americans won't breed at replacement levels, and white boys think they're entitled. Who's taxes are gonna pay for all that shit you promised for yourself later in life?

You don't have to like the mojaditos, but don't blame them. Blame the The Power that wants the status quo to continue. Any attempt to deny them status is mean spirited, ignorant and unjust.
It's not only wrong for America, it's also not what America is about.
It's just wrong, period.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Nothing quite like using your First Amendment rights to justify curtailing somebody else's First Amendment rights.
But it's the patriotic songs, (you know, the ones that glorify freedom and liberty?) that are the nicest touch.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Democracy: Tastes like Chicken

by Tully

I should note that, as Antony Bourdain wrote: Chicken is for people who don't know what they want.

The worst form of government? The best? What do these mean? Does anyone honestly think, upon a moment's reflection, that this question can be decided without reference to the cultural and religious context of a given people's history? It's a belabored point...tainted irreparably with banal relativism. I would like to give it new luster, if it is in my power.

I guess I'll have to say it: a people must acquire a taste for democracy, for republics, for monarchy and for any form of government. Our food, our air, our music, our art...everything, in short, in our everyday lives, which is discursive without being politically or formally discursive, goes into our developing these tastes. Wagner and vegetarianism (of which Wagner was a zealous proponent) led to fascism in Germany, but one does not acquire a taste for Wagner out of the blue. Just try listening to The Ring Cycle today and this becomes obvious: one needs to listen to a series of Wagner's less Wagnerian influences. One needs to have available good potatoes and dumplings to become a vegetarian. One needs to breath the cool, loveless air of the North not to be appalled by Das Reingold.

But do we insist that, in spite of historical influences, there is a right and wrong form of government?

A government of, for, and by the people? Yes, any good government must be of, for, and by the people. But such is monarchy. Such is dictatorship. Such is every form of government that is sustainable. What is in question is merely a matter of succession. What "the people" want, invariably, is as little doubt as possible over the succession of their leaders. Democracy is one way to minimize this doubt. A preferred method in a world in which blood has lost its worth. But blood has not lost its worth, has not become a thing of deception, through a rational observation of the occasional madness of kings. Medical knowledge, the myth that individuality is thicker than blood, the American gastronomic obsession with meat, the marital myth of alliance, and later that of love...countless factors, in short, of all facets of our lives, have fed, in reciprocal motion, the taste for democracy. Thus did it become fitting and good to adopt a republic for our form of government. As our diets, our everyday relationships, our language and our climate (unless if that's a ploy to get Al Gore rich) change more and more, so must our understanding of what a tasteful democracy may be.

I speak no relativism. Relativism would say that our principles are right because we chose them to begin with. Legalism, absolutism, fundamentalism are relativist, because the choice remains unbound, floating upon the anachronism of a lost language into lost millenia. I speak of a moral fervor for history: This is how we have come to be as we are; our tastes being acquired, we commit ourselves to new and greater tastes. We challenge ourselves by improving our air, improving our diets, improving our music and our friendships. We destroy what we were, and in trying to destroy, with discipline as only honest toil can instill and with lightness of heart. There is nothing more moral than to challenge--through continual destruction and renewal--my own own own world. Finally it is God who needs reworking. God was once a destroyer. A creator by destruction, ex nihilo. If God is love, then God, like love, must destroy, as must we, made in her image. God is not a democrat. At least, not a life-long democrat.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

If we don't build the mosque, won't the jihadists be mad at us?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Place of Worship Near the Stock Exchange

John Oliver on the Daily Show had a laugh line concerning the so called "ground-zero mosque" saying that Islam, like every other religion, is responsible for its biggest assholes.

Let's think about this caricature of the attitude of those opposing the mosque for a moment.

We should be responsible. We are morally responsible for our fellow human beings, especially those who worship with us, dance with us and eat with us. But if we counted on people acting responsibly toward others within their own cliques, much less without them, then there would be no need for laws.

It is true that the imam is being insensitive to the majority of people visiting this area, who might well confuse Islam with al-Quaeda. The point is that we don't have laws to protect people's sensitivities. We have laws to protect their safety and their freedoms. When we uphold sensitivity as a grounds for manipulating our laws, we attempt to impose equality upon people's emotions and opinions, as though sensitivities grounded in the truth of things are equal to those of mere fancy. Especially when the number of sensitive persons gives weight to the influence of their feelings.

The legislation of equality is the very thing conservatives are supposed to be against. In this case, they are opposing their own principles.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Birthright Citizenship II

OK, so Brian beat me to the punch with this link which pretty says what I was going to say.
There was also another article from the L.A. Times from 2004/5, that highlighted the same thing the Turkish preggars are doing in the link above, but in that case it was Chinese and Korean preggars. Can't find the damn link now. Sorry.

As the article explained, admittance to a higher education in those countries is very competitive. American citizenship allows the student easier access to already easier-to-enroll-in American universities without the bullshit and limitations of the student visa process.
With the Asian preggars, the demographic was highly educated/upper-stratus babes with the intent of providing their child with one more additional arrow to add to their quiver of advantages. So, these are upper-crust, motivated and professional minded potential United States Citizens.

At a time when we are bitching and moaning about millions of under-educated, under-civilized third-world lettuce pickers rushing our borders and gobbling up services, I think a few thousand potential mathematicians, scientists or engineers who are familiar with indoor plumbing would be welcome, don't you?

Not that I can't think of good reasons to change it. Among them:

  • American Universities receive federal funding, supposedly for the benefit of American students. That would be... students who truly are American in fact and not merely in law.
    Every seat a foreigner occupies is an admission spot denied to an American, who's taxes support/provide for that seat.
    Indirectly, I see it as an injustice to some individuals who may never know the real reason why they didn't receive the opportunity.
  • American citizenship should be an identity held close your heart, not a commodity for trade. Birthright citizenship as practiced by these likens citizenship to a Costco card whose primary purpose is to enable the holder easier access to bigger carts of shit. I know. I have an old-fashioned idea of what being an American means. It may not pass muster with the erudite, but it is the way I was raised by a father who knew the difference and I see no good reason to re-educate myself.

It is a loophole.
I do not believe it is what The People intended when the 14th Amendment was ratified.
That said, is it really worth the political struggle, the debate, and the emotional energy required to sustain the movement to change it? I think not.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tranny Gear

For the man who is ashamed of his masculinity.
See? First we let the gays get married and soon all hell breaks loose.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Expendables

Combine all the action stars from 1980's, add a of couple professional athletes (the gladiator kind), toss in one solid acting talent, mix in lots of gasoline and gun powder, and then beat the plot into irrelevancy and you have The Expendables: a balls-out, head-banging, slice-and-dice action flick that is as over-the-top as it is in-your-face.

Stallone directs this one, where he combines various elements of different 80's movies. Every thing that happens here you've seen before, just not in this order. Surprisingly, it kinda works, with all the bits and pieces fitting together into a whole. Kinda like a mosaic.

Stallone leads a group of mercenaries who are no good at anything else, and all have their issues dealing with real life relationships. The action starts early, like in the opening scene, and meat, blood and bone never stop flying. (Imagine the story-ending whizbangboom of Rambo (the last one) but it takes up the whole movie.)

I did mention that there was one real acting talent,didn't I?
That would be Mickey Rourke. He plays a burned out mercenary who still hangs out with his old buddies, unable to complete the transition from the world he no longer wants to the world he cannot fit into.
As he says: "I don't want to die for a woman. I want to die laying next to one."
He's philosophical and wise. Tearfully, with a measure of forced detachment, he recalls the day in Bosnia when he lost his soul. I'm convinced that Rourke wrote this scene himself. He's the only actor in this whole display capable of performing it, and it is out of sync with the rest of crew. Rourke takes his character, a character that probably only has 15 minutes of total screen time, if that, and turns him into the one we understand and empathise with the most.
Great job by Rourke. But I have always thought that he was a better talent than the sum of his career, which seems to be on an upswing. Good for him.

I don't know. I want more theater than this one brought to the screen. Not that I was expecting all that much in the first place, but after the last two installments of 'Rambo' and 'Rocky' I think I'm justified in expecting just a bit more from a Stallone film.
Maybe it's just me getting a little long in the tooth.
The Under 25 set will love it. Maybe even consider it a great movie.
Unfortunately though, I haven't been 25 in a very long time.
But if you do see it, go to the big screen. All that exploding gasoline is just wasted watching it home.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Birthright Citizenship I

There's been some talk, and a few politicians jumping on the bandwagon, concerning the issue of Birthright Citizenship and the concept of anchor babies.

The problem, if it is one,*(see edit,below) comes mostly from two sources. First, there is the obvious issue of children born to illegal aliens. The second, mostly unnoticed, is the trend among Asians, mostly Chinese and Korean, vacationers who time their trips to coincide with birthing their children in the United States.
These Asian babies then return to their parent's homeland to grow up, with the intent of using their American status to gain college admission later on.

The argument has been made that the original intent of the 14th Amendment was to clear up the status of former slaves. That may be. But, ever since it's ratification, it has been understood to apply to anybody born within our borders and jurisdictions.
To change what has always been understood by the people with a Supreme Court challenge is akin to what the left has done to property rights in Kelo, and most recently, is still attempting to do to the right to keep and bear arms.
You can't have it both ways, folks. Sorry.

* I should have stated this differently to read that I recognize that some folks see a problem and not to imply that I am saying that there is a problem.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Kickin It Up

Robert brought up the topic of hot sauce last week. Something along the line of having a favorite.
I remember not much liking hot sauce while growing up. Most of my friends were of Mexican decent. Not particularly remarkable as I did grow up in a blue-collar burb, less than 1/4 mile from what was officially the Los Angeles city line. Hot sauce was more of a Mexican thing to me. And seemingly, always synonymous with Tabasco: Something that an older Mexican would pull out of their coat pocket or purse whenever taking a meal away from home.

And it wouldn't surprise me if there were more small bottles of Tabasco languishing in purses and coat pockets (not to mention tool boxes, high school lockers, and automotive 'glove' compartments) than were sitting on dining room tables.

Why? Because back then hot sauce wasn't something you found next to the salt and pepper shakers of any coffee shop or diner. An ethnic condiment, some might even call it a staple, that hadn't (yet) gone mainstream.

My, how things have changed. Today, I see Tabasco and Cholula sauces in even the most 'White' of food establishments, located in mid-America cities that twenty years ago didn't know what a Mexican population was, let alone the pervasive historical and cultural presence that I had grown up with.

It's not a regional or Mexican thing anymore. Instead, it's as mainstream-American as pizza and hot dogs.

I have changed as well, and now confess to having not one, but four different hot sauces in my steady rotation. I have no favorite as each serves it's own specialty, and are not readily interchangeable in usage.

The Mexicans at work turned me on to this one last year. Huichol is probably my most used hot sauce. It's thick and sticks to the palate. Not too much bite, but strong enough of a burn to satisfy your needs while it washes away with a simple drink of water.

It's main draw is it's flavor as opposed to it's fire, with almost none of that vinegar taste most hot sauces are known for.

You can't find it in the supermarket. You gotta go to a Mexican market to find it. Even then, it's gaining in popularity around here.

I use it mostly on tacos, burritos, tamales. Sometimes fried eggs. It's good to blend with canned crab and spread on a cracker, or with shrimp as a cocktail sauce substitute. It's unmatched in its versatility, so I tend to keep a bottle at work or in my car, and at only a buck a bottle, you can afford to spread the supply around.

Cholula is every where you are... almost, and has found it's way not only into Waffle Houses down south but at even at a truck stop in Tuscola, Illinois.

I use it primarily for fried eggs, but it's a solidly tasty all-purpose for everything else,too.

It's a good sauce, but nothing all that special that can't be easily replaced with any one of several similar types that are out there.

I'd say Tabasco is probably the original all-American hot sauce that gained the widest acceptance the earliest. Probably because it's a domestic product with a homegrown fan base.

A really strong vinegary taste that overwhelms the flavor of any other ingredients makes this one mostly a loser for me. All it seems to add to a dish is heat, and little else.

But I do use it fairly regular. It's awesome with canned sardines. And it seems all that vinegar is the only thing that can cut through the overwhelming 'smoke' flavor of canned oysters and kippered herring.

Lastly, I got Sriracha, also known as Rooster Sauce, because nobody knows how to pronounce 'Sriracha', and there is a rooster on the label.

A Thai product with a bright red color commonly found in Chinese and Vietnamese eateries, Sriracha provides good flavor, strong heat, and wide versatility and also serves as a dipping sauce.

I use it at home for shellfish, sardines and ramen or pho noodles. So good with pho, so appropriate in it's compliment, that I can't eat a bowl without it. It's great stuff. And like I said, a strong heat.
Once you take an acceptance it's hard to do without it's flavor. It's that damn good. Use lightly til you know what you're doing because too much is a real punch to the face that will make your make your eyes bleed and your nose run.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Audrey Tautou or Marion Cotillard?

Audry Tautou: French actress. Best known in this country for her portrayal of the title role in 2001's Amelie. A good movie that I've since forgotten.


Marion Cotillard: Another French actress. Known most recently for her role as Dillinger's babe in Public Enemies. A good movie that I still remember.

It's a no brainer. Marion got stuff, ya know? Stuff like those breastages that fill her dress and provide gawk material for the rest of us.
Unless you're into the NAMBLA action, Audry just can't compete.

And speaking of French, neither can hold a candle to this one.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Brain Dead

Just don't know what to write about, and unmotivated to dream something up.

Throw me a clue. Anything but politics.
You ask the question and I'll offer up my best answer.